Caregiver Support Group meetings are all about sharing issues/situations, asking for and giving supportive suggestions, exploring options and making connections. The topics, issues and suggestions below reflect the flow of conversation at a given meeting. We don't usually have a set agenda, and the items listed are based on the moderator/recorder's memory. If I've forgotten or incorrectly stated something, I encourage members to email me at email@example.com or post a comment to this entry. ~Debra Smith, Health Science Librarian, Support Group Moderator
All links and mentions of the COD Library Caregiver Resource Guide refer to http://codlrc.org/HS/care
The group decided to continue meeting throughout the summer and into the fall on the 4th Tuesday of each month from noon to 1pm. Debra will work with HR to schedule the dates/times/locations for summer and fall (stay tuned!).
Per group request, representatives from the COD Employee Assistance Program (EAP) and Elder Care Solutions, Inc. will be invited to attend a future meeting and have a conversation with members about the types of services offered by these programs, costs, etc. in reference to the questions/situations of group members. Debra will notify the College of scheduled "speakers" via her email reminders about the support group meetings.
Issue # 1 How to help parents think about changes in their care giving situation (assisted living, nursing homes, relocation, etc)
The group had a lengthy discussion about how to prepare for and move-forward-with "the next step" when parents (or those for whom we care) can no longer be cared for within their home (due to safety or physical aspects). We talked about how to enlist the assistance of health professionals (not just primary health care professionals but also social workers, counselors, etc) to help deal with the emotional issues that these circumstances arouse (in both caregivers and those that are being given care.)
Many members suggested exploring the many options available (assisted living, advanced care, combination facilities). It was pointed out that the individuals at places like this, while trying their best to "sell" their facilities, were much more experienced than many caregivers at the process of transition and could provide help and support. We recommended learning about what was offered by the different types of facilities and then matching those offerings to the needs of each individual family. Every situation is unique and can change--one solution doesn't work for every situation or every family. We mentioned keeping this in mind when listening to a "sales pitch" or hearing "testimonials" from others.
Members expressed how frustrating the process can be when people are resistant (scared, fearful, angry, resentful) of change. We affirmed that there is only so much preparation and assistance we can offer...in the end, it is still the choice of those for whom we care...until they are incapable of making the choice (or a Dr determines that they can no longer remain where they are).
The issues of finances, federal assistance, state laws regarding paying for long-term care came up quite a bit. There are legal professionals as well as care management organizations, and personnel at the facilities themselves that can help clarify these types of questions/concerns. (See the caregiver guide for more information).
In addition to researching and knowing what is available, members reminded one another of the importance of having power of health, power of attorney, finances, DNRs, Five Wishes documents, etc. completed BEFORE they are truly needed (when individuals are competent and able to make their desires and wishes known).
The FCA has some useful tips & fact sheets dealing with aspects of this issue. Check out the Caregiving Issues & Strategies section at: https://caregiver.org/fact-sheets
Issue #2 Distance Caregiving
We reaffirmed the information shared in the February 24, 2015, Caregiver Support Group Summary (issue #4). Debra will look into inviting several COD colleagues that have experienced distance caregiving from start to finish to discuss their experiences at a future meeting.
Issue # 3 Have Questions About Funeral Planning/Process?
One of our members is willing to share information gained from years of experience pertaining to funerals, planning, process, military funeral honors, etc. Interested in learning more or have questions? Contact Debra or come to a support group meeting for an introduction!
Book Recommendations from a Group Member
One of our members suggests the following books held in the COD Library Collection for information that is written from the perspective of health care providers. The member thought it was helpful/interesting to see how health care professionals are taught/trained to approach conditions/diseases and care.
Ebersole & Hess' toward healthy aging : human needs & nursing response
RC954 E23 2012
Ebersole and Hess' gerontological nursing & healthy aging
RC954 G455 2014
Chronic illness : impact and interventions, 8th ed
RC108 C458 2013
Assistive Technologies: Principles & Practices, 4th ed
RM698 C66 2015
Did I miss something? Do you have suggestions to add to our conversation? Please leave a comment below!